since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English
Get your 7 Secrets FREE
Idioms

the tip of the iceberg

This page is about the idiom the tip of the iceberg

Meaning

You can say something is the tip of the iceberg when it's just a small part of something much bigger.

For example

  • The homeless kids who visit us for help are just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands more we never see.

  • The internet is huge. What you can find through search engines is just the tip of the iceberg.

Origin: Metaphorical, related to the fact that most of an iceberg is below water and cannot normally be seen, and the part above water that can be seen doesn't give a clear idea of how big it really is.

Quick Quiz

The corruption cases that are brought to court are the tip of the iceberg, and there are

a. no more cases to uncover

b. a few more cases to uncover

c. many more cases to uncover

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey